Donald Trump and transparency have never exactly had a close association, but thanks to a federal judge this week, America may finally get a glimpse at what really went on behind the scenes on The Apprentice.
Long rumored to be a cesspool of inappropriate language and behavior by the well-produced host and his corporate posing family, the long resisting MGM has now been ordered to hand over tapes of unaired footage from the NBC reality TV series in a long simmering class action over a marketing sleight of hand pulled by the Trumps on the show.
“Ordered that Plaintiffs’ motion to compel the MGM Entities to make available to Plaintiffs certain video footage is granted,” wrote U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield late yesterday after a coronavirus social distancing enforced teleconference with the respective parties.
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“Plaintiffs shall bear the reasonable costs of production, and the parties shall confer before incurring such costs,” the NYC-based judge added of the quartet of unknown plaintiffs who launched their lawsuit back in October 2018. “Plaintiffs shall file a letter by April 24, 2020, to apprise the Court of their discussions and agreements concerning production,” the three-page order made public today states (READ IT HERE).
The order to hand over tapes of at least two Apprentice episodes leaves Team Trump with their second loss of the week as Judge Schofield had previous denied their and marketing company, ACN Opportunity’s desire to have the whole thing moved behind closed doors to arbitration. In fact, the judge was clearly teed off that the Trumps and ACN had tried to shift things after getting access to all sorts of documents from the plaintiffs in the process of discovery in open court.
The much sued POTUS, plus offspring Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump and their corporate entity were hauled into court this time for allegedly falsely encouraging people to invest in ACN’s video phone service over the 2005 to 2015 run of The Apprentice. As with almost all things touched by Trump, CAN turned out to be a shaky proposition. It also was revealed that the Trumps were actually being paid to endorse the product – a fact that they omitted from informing anyone.
Intending to appeal the April 9 order, Trump Corporation’s lead outside counsel Joanna Hendon did not respond to request for comment on the latest legal loss. Correspondingly, reps for MGM were radio silent on the order too. However, following a previous loss earlier this week in Team Trump’s desire to have the primary attorney for the pseudonymed Jane Doe, Mary Moe, Richard Roe and Luke Loe was playing this one pretty loud and proud.
“With last night’s opinion and today’s rulings, the Court has cleared away a number of remaining obstacles created by the defendants and third parties to proper discovery in this case,” Roberta Kaplan said on April 9 in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to gather the evidence to deliver justice for our brave clients, and thousands of others like them who were defrauded by the Trumps,” the Kaplan Hecker & Fink partner added.
Kaplan’s name may be familiar to many Deadline readers. As well ask taking on the Trumps, the co-founder of Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is also representing Amber Heard’s defense in Johnny Depp’s ongoing $50 million defamation suit against his ex-wife, the Aquaman star
As for tapes from the Apprentice, under suspicions and accusations that Trump was caught on camera using racial slurs and more, MGM has fought tooth and nail to keep the unseen footage from public and potentially prying eyes. Now it looks like four unknown individuals may have partially accomplished what Tom Arnold could not.
Good Friday indeed.
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